Crime Creative Nonfiction

Bombs were bursting on the silver screen at the Texas Theater and the cigarette smoke in the theater added to the effects, but it was all oblivious to Lee. His mind was elsewhere. The phone call he was expecting never came and the aftermath of the noontime fiasco began to settle on his shoulders. They must have dialed the wrong number, he thought. The echoes of the gun shots reverberated in his memory. “Perhaps it’s all a coincidence.” In his heart, he knew better than that.

Lee wasn’t much to look at. He was scrawny and his face was made for radio, but he had a brain. When he was drafted, Military Intel adopted him and sent him to language school where he learned several dialects, to include Russian. Before his hitch was up, CIA recruited him and he was on his way to bigger things, that was until Kennedy came along. He was called back from Russia, in hopes of being assigned in Cuba. His cover was flawless. Everyone thought he was a communist sympathizer and getting married to a Russian put the icing on the cake.

After the missile crisis and the secret deal with the Soviets, Cuba has become off limits and now he was stuck in a mediocre job in the middle of Dallas. Lee couldn’t complain too much though. At least he made a little extra cash at the book depository.

A commotion in the back of the theater drew his attention. “Was it my contact?” When he looked back, he was two police officers talking to someone wearing a suit. The suit pointed towards the audience and at the same time, the movie stopped. The glamor of the theater dimmed, as the lights illuminated.

The police paraded down the aisle and halted in front of Lee. They put their hands on their revolvers and asked, “Are you Lee Harvey Oswald?” when he nodded, the police arrested him. “You’re under arrest for the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit.” They then read him his rights and handcuffed him.

“You’ve got the wrong man, officer. I haven’t shot anyone.”

The officer search Lee and found a pistol in his coat pocket. We waved it in his face. “And what do you use this for? Picking your nose?” he signaled to the other officer. Take him downtown and book him.”

The policeman escorted Lee to the squad car and shoved him inside. Then he drove to downtown headquarters. When they arrived, the car was surround by reporters. Flashbulbs continuously burst out and reporters shouted questions. “Is this the man who shot the president?” was the first and repeated question.

Lee nearly tripped over himself when heard the reporter but had the strength to reply. "I didn't shoot anybody. They've taken me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union. I'm just a patsy!"  The police grabbed Lee’s arms and forced their way through the crowd, entering police headquarters. The normally busy office fell silent as Lee came into their sights. Hatred poured from their eyes, during the silence, leaving Lee fearful for his life.

The police continued to escort Lee to a corridor in the back and into an interrogation room. There, they handcuffed him to a table and left him alone, leaving him to stir in his own juices.

“This is crazy. My assignment was simple. Make sure the sixth floor was vacant.” That was exactly what he did and after that, he went to the breakroom and waited for further instructions. “they’ll have to let me go. There’s no evidence linking me to the crime.”

It seemed like several hours before the door opened again. A middle-aged man dressed in a suit which was two sizes too small sat in the empty chair. “My name is Capt. J. W. Fritz. You’ve been charged with the murder of one of my finest. But do you know what’s the real reason for why you are here?”

“Well, sir, if my ears aren’t playing tricks on me, it seems like someone got it in their head I shot the president.”

“Yes, you shot the president. At least that’s what the FBI says. What do you have to say about that?”

Lee smiled. “I – want – a – lawyer.”

Fritz rose to his feet and walked towards Lee. “We all want something and what I want is to see you fry for killing one of my officers. But now I won’t see that. They’ll end up taking you to Washington and crucify you for an assassination.” Fritz pulled out his gun and struck Lee in the face with it. “That’s something for you to remember me by.” Without saying another word, he walked out the door.

Six hours later, Fritz returned. “We’re taking you to a holding cell tonight and tomorrow, we’ll resume the interrogation.”

“Resume, what?” Lee asked. “You haven’t asked me anything yet.”

“And tomorrow, you’ll get plenty of the same.”

Lee was at a loss. “I don’t understand. Why are you doing this then?”

Fritz unlocked Lee from the table. “It looks good on paperwork.” He took Lee by the shoulder and led him to a holding cell away from the others. “We wouldn’t want you talking to the wrong crowd, now would we?” Fritz locked the cell door, leaving Lee alone for the night.

The next morning, after having a simple breakfast, Fritz came by and handcuffed Lee, then led him out to a hallway filled with reporters. He whispered in Lee’s ear. “Keep it plain and simple and no one gets hurt, especially you.”

When he was brought in the room, the inquisition began. “Did you kill the president?” was the first question.

Calmly, Lee replied,” I hadn’t been charged with the crime of killing the President.”

The press continued to ask questions, but Fritz slowly pushed Lee away from the room. “Time to go,” he whispered. He escorted Lee back to the interrogation and lock him in as he did before, leaving him alone. Later that night, another policeman took Lee back to his cell where he slept another night.

The next morning, he another simple breakfast, but this time no one took him from his cell. Later, around noon, Fritz returned. “Time for you to go. You’re being transferred to a federal prison where you’ll wait for your trial to begin.” He put the handcuffs back on Lee. We’re taking you through the basement, to avoid most of the press.” He pushed him towards the door. “Let’s go.”

They headed for the elevator and got off at the basement. They began to walk towards the paddy wagon. A few reporters were present, then Lee saw a familiar face coming towards him. “It’s my contact. What’s he doing here?”

As if to answer his question, he pulled out a pistol from under his jacket fire fired a Lee. Lee collapsed and fell to the floor, knowing he would see the light of day.

February 12, 2021 23:02

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